The Cotswold District Council Active Cotswolds Programme has made good progress in improving leisure, health and wellbeing opportunities across the Cotswolds in its first year as it looks to create a modern and local approach to providing people with active lifestyle options.
Cllr Jenny Forde, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Helping residents, businesses and communities access the support they need to ensure a high level of health and well-being is a key priority for the Council, especially as we begin to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“This programme involves working side by side with communities to build a healthy district that encourages residents to appreciate and use the environment around them to increase activity levels in everyday life and to live healthier lives.
“Over 1000 residents took part in our Online Community Survey back in 2020 which has helped us to better understand attitudes and behaviours around physical activity. We have listened to our residents and used the survey results to influence the decisions being made as part of the programme.
"In the first year we have made some really good progress including improvements to active and sustainable travel, planned investments towards our leisure centres and identifying our community’s needs through community engagement.”
As part of the great progress already made, improvements have been made around Cotswold Water Park to increase active and sustainable travel. These include new bike stands, wayfinding boards and the resurfacing of cycle paths. You can read more here - https://news.cotswold.gov.uk/news/improvements-made-around-cotswold-water-park-to-support-walking-and-cycling-in-the-area
The Council has also been working with our leisure provider and have made good progress on improving the leisure centres in the Cotswolds.
To improve cleanliness of facilities a Contract Monitoring Officer has been appointed. Part of their role includes undertaking mystery visits to the leisure centres to assess the levels of cleanliness and experience the customer journey at the facilities. We know this is important as 71% of survey responses said that cleanliness of facilities was a factor that would encourage them to use the leisure facilities.
We are not only improving the cleanliness of facilities, 67% of survey responses said that a better range of facilities or equipment would be another encouraging factor to use the leisure facilities. We have taken that on board and will be investing over £300,000 into the replacement of fitness equipment. You can read more here - https://news.cotswold.gov.uk/news/council-owned-gyms-across-the-cotswolds-to-get-an-upgrade
Community engagement is ongoing with our community builder Sue Pilling, who has done a great job to make changes happen with regards to connecting the community. The DigiBus goes around Gloucestershire offering digital training sessions for those who are digitally excluded. After an email from a local resident, Sue was able to speak to the DigiBus project manager and together they have enabled the bus to go to more locations around the Cotswolds to help our digitally excluded residents.
The Active Cotswold Programme is a 10 year programme designed to improve the health and lives of Cotswolds residents. This programme was approved as part of the Council’s leisure strategy in 2021. These improvements are just the beginning and there is a lot more planned for the future. You can keep up to date with developments on our social channels.